With their vibrant orange color and sweet juicy flesh, apricots are a tempting summer treat we love to enjoy. But what about our pet rabbits – can they join in on the apricot snack as well? The answer may surprise you! While apricots contain beneficial nutrients like vitamin A, potassium and antioxidants, they also harbor hidden dangers for our fluffy friends if fed incorrectly. Join us on an intriguing exploration into the world of apricots – from their nutritional perks to their potential poisons. We’ll uncover what parts are safe, serving sizes, benefits, risks, and more. Get ready for an illuminating ride on the wild side of rabbit apricot consumption!

Are Apricots Good For Rabbits?

Apricots can make a nutritious and safe treat for rabbits in moderation. Like many fruits, apricots contain beneficial nutrients and vitamins that can contribute to a balanced rabbit diet. Some of the positives of feeding apricots to rabbits include:

  • Dietary fiber – The flesh of apricots contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which can support healthy digestion in rabbits. The skin of the apricot has even higher fiber content. Fiber helps move food through the digestive tract, promotes gut motility, and creates a feeling of fullness.

  • Vitamin A – Apricots are rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A supports eye health, immune system function, growth and development. It's an important nutrient for rabbits. However, too much vitamin A can cause toxicity, so apricots should only be fed in moderation.

  • Vitamin C – Apricots provide vitamin C, an antioxidant that is vital for rabbit health. It aids collagen production, supports the immune system, promotes absorption of iron and calcium, and protects cells from damage. Fresh fruits like apricots have higher vitamin C content than dried varieties.

  • Potassium – Apricots contain a decent amount of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate fluid balance, nerve transmission and muscle contractions. Potassium may also help reduce high blood pressure. Many rabbits can benefit from increased potassium in the diet.

  • Phytonutrients – Bright orange apricots are packed with beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids and polyphenols. These function as antioxidants within the body to combat oxidative stress and protect cells.

  • Low calorie – Apricots are relatively low in calories, especially when compared to other fruits. One medium apricot contains just 17 calories, so they make a healthy snack or treat for rabbits watching their weight.

  • Moisture – The high water content in fresh apricots helps hydrate rabbits and provides moisture within the intestinal tract to keep things moving smoothly through the gut. Dehydrated apricots do not offer the same benefit.

So in short, fresh apricots in moderation can provide valuable vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants for rabbits as part of a balanced diet. The serving size should be restricted to 1-2 small slices of apricot to prevent digestive upset. Dried apricots are not as nutritious and have a higher sugar content.

Why Can’t Rabbits Have An Apricot Kernel?

While the fleshy fruit of apricots is fine for rabbits to eat, the inner seed or kernel should always be removed before feeding. Apricot kernels contain a compound called amygdalin, which can be toxic to rabbits when ingested. Here's why rabbits should avoid the apricot kernel:

  • Contains cyanide – Apricot kernels naturally contain cyanide, which is very poisonous. The amygdalin compound breaks down into hydrogen cyanide when metabolized. Even small amounts of cyanide can be dangerous.

  • Causes cyanide poisoning – When a rabbit chews and swallows apricot kernel seeds, the amygdalin is converted to cyanide within the body. The cyanide is absorbed rapidly from the gastrointestinal tract. As cyanide builds up, it prevents cells from using oxygen properly. This leads to cyanide poisoning, which can be fatal.

  • Impact on respiration – Cyanide poisoning impairs cellular respiration, which is the process through which cells use oxygen to produce energy. As respiration becomes inhibited, oxygen transport and utilization decreases. This causes breathing difficulties, racing heart rate, seizures, coma and eventual death in severe cases.

  • Rapid onset of symptoms – Rabbits that ingest apricot kernels may show signs of cyanide poisoning within minutes to hours. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, mouth and tongue irritation, twitching, spasms, weakness, and collapse. Death can occur soon after.

  • Only takes 0.5 mg/kg – The lethal dose of cyanide for a rabbit is quite small, only 0.5 to 1 milligram of cyanide per kg of body weight. Since apricot kernels can contain up to 5 mg per kernel, just one or two seeds could poison a rabbit weighing 2-4 lbs.

  • No antidote – While some humans intentionally ingest apricot kernels for perceived health benefits, this practice causes cyanide poisoning in many cases. However, doctors can administer an antidote such as hydroxocobalamin or sodium thiosulfate. For rabbits, there is no realistic antidote for this toxicity. Prevention is key.

For all these reasons, be sure to always remove the inner stone or pit of apricots before feeding the fruit to pet rabbits. The flesh can be nutritional, but the kernel and cyanide danger outweighs any benefits.

What Happens If I Give My Rabbit Too Much Apricot?

While fresh apricots provide vitamins and minerals for rabbits, they are high in natural sugars. Feeding too much apricot at once can overwhelm a rabbit's digestive system and cause health issues. Here's what can happen if rabbits eat too many apricots:

  • Diarrhea – The excess fruit sugars and acids in too many apricots may irritate the stomach and intestines, causing diarrhea in rabbits. The soluble fiber in apricots also has a laxative effect when consumed to excess. Diarrhea leads to dehydration, poor nutrient absorption and discomfort.

  • Bloating – Overfeeding high-fiber, high-water fruits like apricots allows gas production and dangerous stomach dilation due to fermentation in the cecum. The rabbit's abdomen may distend due to discomfort and gas. Bloat can be life threatening without urgent vet care.

  • Obesity – Apricots are relatively high in natural sugars and calories compared to vegetables. Feeding too many frequently can lead to unnecessary weight gain in rabbits. Obesity stresses joints, impairs heart health and leads to diabetes in rabbits.

  • Tooth decay – Excessive simple sugars from fruit can demineralize tooth enamel over time and allow decay in rabbits. Dental issues are extremely common in rabbits and excess fruit sugar exacerbates this.

  • Imbalanced diet – When too many apricots are fed, it takes away a rabbit's appetite for hay, healthy greens and pellets. An imbalanced, fruit-heavy diet can cause serious nutritional deficiencies and diseases.

  • Food avoidance – If apricots are offered in excess, rabbits may avoid them entirely in the future. The sugar overload makes them unpalatable. Variety and moderation is key for treats.

  • Intestinal blockage – In rare cases, poorly chewed chunks of dried apricot can obstruct the intestines if given as a frequent treat. This requires emergency surgery to clear the blockage.

For all these reasons, no more than a few thin slices of fresh apricot a few times per week is recommended. Consult an exotics vet to find the ideal fruit serving size for your pet rabbit based on weight, age and overall health status.

Can Rabbits Eat Apricot Skin?

The skin of apricots has more nutritional value than the flesh and is safe for most rabbits to eat in small amounts. Here's what you need to know about feeding apricot skin to rabbits:

  • High in fiber – The skin of apricots contains even more dietary fiber than the flesh – about 5 grams of fiber per 3 ounces. This insoluble fiber benefits digestion. But too much can also cause loose stools.

  • More nutrients – Apricot skins contain higher levels of certain nutrients than the flesh. For example, the skin is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium and various antioxidant compounds compared to the flesh alone.

  • Choking hazard – Dried apricot skins, if not chopped finely, pose a choking risk and are difficult for rabbits to digest properly. Make sure dried skins are diced small before feeding.

  • Pesticides – Since pesticide residue concentrates on fruit skin, it's ideal to buy organic apricots if feeding the skin to be extra safe. Scrubbing thoroughly can help remove some residues if organic is unavailable.

  • Allergies – In rare cases, compounds in apricot skin can cause contact dermatitis, itching, swelling or gastrointestinal upset in rabbits. Discontinue feeding if adverse reactions appear.

  • Texture enjoyment – Many rabbits enjoy gnawing and chewing on the slightly thicker skin of apricots. This provides mental stimulation and wears down constantly growing teeth.

  • Serving size – No more than 1-2 ounces of chopped fresh apricot skin or 1 tbsp dried skin should be fed at a time. Too much can lead to digestive upset.

So in summary, apricot skin provides extra nutrition and fiber for rabbits, with some precautions. The skin should always be washed thoroughly, pitted carefully, and served in very limited quantities to avoid health issues. Monitor stool quality and reduce portions if diarrhea occurs.

Is Dried Apricot Also Safe?

Dried apricots are safe for rabbits in small amounts, but should be fed less frequently than fresh apricot due to the higher sugar content in dried fruit. Here are some guidelines for feeding dried apricots to rabbits:

  • Higher in sugar – The dehydration process concentrates natural sugars in apricots up to 3 times the amount in fresh varieties. Too much can cause obesity and dental issues.

  • Less vitamins – Dried apricots lose some vitamin C and vitamin A activity during drying and storage compared to fresh fruit. But some antioxidants like beta-carotene remain.

  • Contains preservatives – Many commercially dried apricots include added preservatives like sulfur dioxide to retain color. These may cause allergic reactions in sensitive rabbits. Seek unsulfured varieties.

  • Benefits digestion – Even unsweetened dried apricots provide insoluble and soluble fiber to promote healthy intestine function and regularity. But portion control is key.

  • Chewiness – The chewy texture of dried apricots provides chewing stimulation and dental wear for rabbit teeth. Just watch for choking on large pieces.

  • Easy to overfeed – The smaller dried size makes it easier for pet owners to over-serve dried apricots. Stick to a serving size of 1-2 tablespoons max at a time.

  • Infrequent treat – Dried fruits like apricots should only comprise about 1-2% of a rabbit's daily calorie intake. Feed just a few times weekly for variety.

In summary, dried apricots make an appropriate treat for rabbits a few times per week in limited quantities if unsulfured. Select plump, soft dried apricots with no preservatives or added sugars. Chop dried apricots to prevent choking. And accompany treats with plenty of water to dilute the effects of sugar.


In moderation, apricots can provide valuable nutrition including vitamins, minerals and fiber for pet rabbits as part of a balanced diet. Feed only 1-2 small slices of fresh apricot at a time, or 1-2 tablespoons dried. Always pit apricots carefully to avoid the toxic kernel inside. And accompany fruit with unlimited hay and water. By following these guidelines, apricots can be a safe, healthy treat rabbit owners can feel good about offering on occasion.



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